To the Editor,
On Monday, August 21, 2017, I received a letter from the opposing Republican candidate for Norwich City Court Judge of an alleged violation of the rules of professional conduct for attorneys. Specifically, the opposing candidate stated “Your signs, magnets, and other advertising stating ‘Natoli, Norwich City Court Judge’, imply that you are a sitting judge.” My opponent asked for my response by August 24, 2017 before he made his concerns public. The following is my reply.
At no time has it been my intent to misrepresent or misinform our community with regard to this election. Similarly, it has never been the intent of my campaign team to misrepresent or misinform our community. The letter from my Republican opponent, dated August 19, 2017, is the first time since my initial signage was used that any member of this community brought to my attention that my campaign materials could possibly infer that I am presently a sitting judge. Specifically, campaign magnets and t-shirts, which have been seen in and around town since May, 2017, and now lawn signs which recently were placed in and around town, have specifically stated both my name as candidate and the office to which I aspire.
I have endeavored to be clear about my credentials in all press releases, advertising and communications that I am running for the position of Norwich City Court Judge and that my current role and occupation is as a full-time attorney with a wide-breadth of legal experience. In any press release, I have acknowledged that the position is available due to the retirement of the presently sitting Norwich City Court Judge after his 17 years on the bench. At no time have I ever alluded to nor stated that I am seeking “re-election” nor referred to, portrayed or held myself out as a sitting judge. It is my sincere hope that no member of our community has been confused by the signage my campaign has used.
Upon receiving this notice, my campaign has immediately taken steps to address any concerns about the misrepresentation alluded to in any campaign signage. With less than three weeks to the primary, our campaign is placed in the position of removing all of our signage to purchase and replace with new signs, t-shirts, car signs and printed literature. Given the short time frame and the excess cost of such endeavor, our campaign has chosen to modify the existing signage so that our community is not confused and to be clear that the position of Norwich City Court Judge is the position for which I am seeking election and not one that I presently hold.
I remain committed at all times to transparency and integrity in my campaign and have endeavored to inform our community of the credentials I hold which make me the best candidate for Norwich City Court Judge. While I can definitively state that the campaign materials distributed by my campaign were not created in a manner which intended to confuse or mislead our community, I will continue to act in a manner becoming of the position I seek and will take any and all steps to remove any appearance of impropriety.
Thank you for your courtesies and consideration. The Republican primary for Norwich City Court Judge is Tuesday, September 12, 2017. I urge members of our community to participate in our electoral process and choose the candidate that has the experience, integrity and commitment to our community in selecting the next Norwich City Court Judge.
Steve Natoli, Candidate for Norwich City Court Judge